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Telemonitoring - An Effective Method of Chronic Care and Treatment

As a part of their mHealth summit preview, recently featured an article that discussed how remote monitoring and telemonitoring are improving patient’s chronic care during in-between visits. How is telemonitoring impacting treatment these days and what does the future hold?

Currently, patients suffering from chronic conditions usually make periodic visits to their doctor’s office where their health data is collected and examinations are done. But, what happens in-between those visits? There is a pronounced gap in the continuity of treatment and care that impedes effective management of chronic conditions. Lately, telemonitoring is garnering a lot of attention as a possible way to close this gap.

According to Scott Flacks, COO of Ideal Life, a Toronto-based provider of customizable wireless health management monitors, proper management of chronic conditions requires records to be maintained on a daily basis. These more frequent record-keeping efforts not only offer better chronic care but also lower the cost of healthcare by helping to reduce the frequency of hospital visits.

The University of California, Department of Medicine recently conducted a study on 1,500 patients and found that remote monitoring and telephone-assisted intervention by healthcare professionals lessened the chances of hospital readmissions among patients with heart failure. The results of the study are quite impressive.

The article cited Flacks’ view about the report: “the study used randomized cases to evaluate care transition intervention that included pre-discharge education about heart failure and post-discharge telephone nurse coaching, along with home telemonitoring of weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. It’s being billed as one of the largest randomized controlled trials of telemonitoring in patients with heart failure and the first to combine the care transition approach with remote telemonitoring.” Researchers are hailing the study as “a rich resource of information on how best to use remote technology in the care management of patients with chronic heart failure.”

Another study was conducted at the Vidant Health system in North Carolina on 700 cardiac patients using biometrics and Ideal Life monitors. The results of that study showed that telemonitoring reduced bed days, re-admissions, and costs by as much as 66%, saving almost $4.4 million in healthcare expenses.

Flacks also pointed out that there’s a marked difference between asking the patient how he/she is feeling at home and monitoring the day-to-day condition of the patients first hand. “Giving doctors daily readings can’t do anything but help,” he said. Flacks dubbed telemedicine and telemonitoring “the healthcare of the future,” concluding that “In the end, it’s all about keeping the patient healthy and out of the hospital.”

Recent studies look like a win/win for telemonitoring. Do you think telemonitoring will become more widely adopted and lead to better chronic care and treatment?

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